Tether Ball

Tether Ball

Location: indoor or outdoor

Materials: ball or balloon, string, and netting (optional)

Did you ever play tether ball as a kid? It's the game where a volleyball is attached to a pole by a long string. It's a 2-person game where the objective is to hit the ball past your opponent so that the string winds around the pole. If that doesn't make sense, here's a video of it.

What you might not have realized about tether ball when playing it at summer camp is that it is a great game for practicing hand-eye coordination. The great news is that you don't need a real tether ball court to give your kids the opportunity to play. Create your own by inflating a balloon, tying a string to the end of the balloon, and then tying the other end of the string to a secure spot (a railing or a tree branch, for example). You could also just decide to hold the string yourself, if you don't have a good spot to attach it.

Invite your kids to take a turn using their hand to hit the balloon.

Possible Extensions:

  • You can decide how challenging to make it based on how much you inflate the balloon. Inflate it larger to make it easier for toddlers and smaller to challenge your preschoolers.
  • For a greater challenge, use a bouncy ball instead of a balloon. The bouncy ball will be faster and less predictable in its movement. Use netting to attach the ball to a string instead, a little bit like this.
  • Use an implement to hit the ball or balloon (like a tennis racket or baseball bat).

What We're Learning:

  • hand-eye coordination
  • crossing the midline (and other pre-writing skills)
  • gross motor development (core strength, shoulder strength, etc.)